Goats enjoy living in their own tower


Jim Leftwich says:

"I'm thinking the next step beyond raising chickens in the backyard is to have your own Goat Tower!

"Currently there are only three Goat Towers in the world (which I think you'll agree is not nearly enough!). The original Goat Tower was built in 1981 by Charles Back at the Fairview Wine and Cheese Estate in Paarl, South Africa. The estate has 750 Saanen goats and some of these are allowed access to the tower.

"The other two Goat Towers are the "Tower of Baaa" in Findlay, Illinois and one built in 2006 in Ekeby, Norway, both of which are modeled on the original.

"Here's an interview with David Johnson, who built one in Illinois, and which is interesting because it contains a lot of great details about the Goat Tower's construction."

"Goats love it and people driving by can't believe it," says David Johnson of Findlay, Ill., about his 31-ft. tall, 7-ft. dia. "goat tower" built with the help of the late Jack Cloe, Herrick, Ill. The tower was constructed with 5,000 hand-made bricks, each one a different size and shape. The tower has 276 concrete steps, arranged to form a spiral staircase, that allows Johnson's goats to climb up and down with ease.

Johnson has 34 Saanen milk goats that use the tower. "Goats are the most curious animals in the world so they use the tower a lot. They come and go, passing each other on the ramp as needed."


The roof is supported by wheels that ride on a circular steel rail along the upper edge of the tower wall. "I cut a door into the roof and plan to use a garage door opener to rotate the roof and use it as an observation tower. I might even bring a telescope up there to look at stars," says Johnson.

Goat Tower


  1. “The estate has 750 Saanen goats and some of these are allowed access to the tower.”

    I wonder what the criteria is? How does a goat earn this right?

  2. Amazingly similar in structure to the old game Tower Toppler. Do yourself a favor and do a search for it. and then play it. you may have to emulate it in DOS or something.

  3. “Goats enjoy living in their own tower”

    pfftt. . . if I had a nickel for every time I heard that. . .

  4. I hope you goats enjoy yourselves up there in your ivory tower, you self righteous bastards. Come down and walk a mile in the hooves of a mule.

  5. Makes sense to me.

    I’ve heard that goats like to be up high. If you were to put a pile of dirt or a small car in their field all the goats will try and get on top of it.

  6. “And who gets to clean out the goat tower?”

    From the interview:

    “About every six months I use a high pressure water hose to blow manure out of each room. It washes out onto the ground, and later I scoop it up and use it for fertilizer on my farm,” he notes.

  7. I visited the Fairview winery when I was in South Africa last year. Considering we also got to do wine tasting as part of the tour, my memory may be a little hazy but the goats looked happy enough in their tower. It may have helped that the tower was only a short distance away from a pond with alligators (at least the sign said there were alligators). The goats probably enjoyed being able to keep watch from on high for any oncoming carnivores.

  8. Fairview wines also bottles under the label name Goats Do Roam. I recently received a bottle of their ’07 Red as a gift from a friend who went to school with Charles Back. It was quite good. They didn’t identify a specific grape on the label so it’s probably a blend of several varieties but it was dry and bold like a Shiraz.

  9. Whilst visiting Greece , and Morocco, in different years, I saw goats standing high up in trees. Very surprised I was…..

  10. Cute. Goats certainly do love climbing — the less accessible and more perilous the better. Climbing through mountains in Southern Italy and North Africa I’d often see frolicking goats at the very tops of olive trees. Which were atop tall pointy boulders. At the very tops of mountains.

    Preposterous creatures.

  11. @17 – yes, goats do like to climb on small cars… jerks scratched my paint. Next time it happens: CABRITO!

  12. “Mountain goat”: does that ring a bell? Goats are designed to climb rocks and hills and mountains. Their hoofs, and weight distribution, is ideal for rocky, hilly terrains. In fact, because of that, mankind has been able to survive in mountainous areas. Animals well adapted to certain terrains difficult for humans help human survival.

    Are we so removed from nature we are surprised goats love their tower?

    Gee, any of you ever see “Heidi” with Shirley Temple? She and her grandfather raised and herded goats (and lived off their milk, cheese, meat, etc). Goats LOVE climbing. Why is this a surprise to peeps?

  13. The roof is supported by wheels that ride on a circular steel rail along the upper edge of the tower wall. “I cut a door into the roof and plan to use a garage door opener to rotate the roof and use it as an observation tower. I might even bring a telescope up there to look at stars,” says Johnson.


  14. Totally agree #13. I’m pretty sure NZ building law would repair a handrail, goat tower or people tower.

  15. This should be included in a first-person shooter game: Sniper Goats!
    Maybe they play Capture The Flag…

  16. We also ate at the Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant, mentioned above by Bucket. The Goats on the Roof meme started as a practical joke played on the owner, but was such a business draw that they made it a feature.

  17. #34 TAKUAN

    You’re way off. . . “Star Star” (a.k.a. “Starf@*ker”) is a way better tune, just ask Steve McQueen.

  18. I read that in my RSS feed as “Goatse njoy living in their own tower”.

    I think I’ve been on the internet for too long…

  19. 45 comments and this is the first chupacabra reference? (DO NOT look this up in the Urban Dictionary. You have been warned!) Goat-suckers, the lot of you!


    The reason for the tower is obviously that it’s easier to have a Goatse from.

    (You try making that pun and not ending the sentence with a preposition.)

  20. Adonai@~45: You and I both, it seems, though i did not see your post when I made the fist comment above. Also, DO NOT SCROLL DOWN on that urban dictionary link. I was referring to the first listing. I had no idea…

  21. Kieran O’Neill @33 Extra trivia: “Goats Do Roam” (one of Fairview’s wine ranges) is a not-so-subtle play on the Côtes du Rhône wine region in France.

    That little trick has generated some interesting IP-infringement cases, but I believe Fairview has generally come out ahead.

    After reading the Decanter article you linked to, the French wine makers came off sounding like they think Americans are so stupid and illiterate that they’ll confuse a $7 South African wine with pictures of goats on the label for French Côtes du Rhône wine. Also, it would seem that French wine makers have no sense of humor.

  22. Even though I am late to the comment party, I feel compelled to tell the world about another, previously not famous goat tower, which was made by me in the mid 1990s, age thirteen, in collaboration with my 11 year-old brother. We built it in the middle of my grandfather’s field for the pleasure of his goats. It was made of cheap side-cuts from the local saw mill, which still had the bark on the curved side. It featured several platforms and two corrugated steel shade roofs. It wasn’t 31 feet high and it didn’t spiral elegantly, but the top platform was about 12 feet off the ground and very stable, which now that I think about it seems pretty damned good for 2 boys visiting their grandparents on summer vacation.

    The goats took to it right away. There were several adventurous kids who quickly explored the entire thing and the older, fatter goats appreciated our shady areas. The day after we put it up, one of the kids jumped off of the top platform onto a corrugated steel sheet about 6 feet below. The incredibly load sound that resulted caused the herd to bolt in all directions, far more quickly then we knew they could move. My grandpa, who is now 92, still laughs when he tells the story of the “goat explosion.”

  23. In (roughly) 2002, there was a bar on Beale Street in Memphis that had a goat tower. Seriously. Smack dab on Beale Street. So, you could sit there and listen to blues on an outdoor patio, sweltering in the Memphis humidity while watching the goats scamper up and down the goat tower. The goats must have been hammered, too, because, as this was a bar, you saw a LOT of people sneaking them beers.

    Flicker photos of this bar, Silky O’Sullivans, in Memphis: http://www.flickr.com/photos/novus_photo/3561043109/in/photostream/.

  24. I’ve had Goats Du Roam wine; it was quite good. I got the pun on the French region, but had no idea about this further cool fact about it.

  25. I have never seen a goat as happy as a goat who has something to climb up, and somewhere to hang out once he’s climbed up it. Goats + climbing up things go together like cats + cardboard boxes.

  26. That’s all well and good until the Poor Schmoe has to go in there and clean it out…

  27. Aw. That’s pretty cute. Makes me want to move to the country and get some goats and make cheese.

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